I’ve had several jobs in my lifetime and have been the most happiest with my current position at Thomason Management, Inc.  Thomason Management, Inc. manages several domain portfolios including the Innovation HQ portfolio.  The IHQ portfolio consists of domains like earth.com, grants.com, unemployment.com, mortgagecalculator.com, whatismyip.com, and many more.

I’m very fortunate to be a part of this company. It’s afforded me opportunities I may not of otherwise had.

My illustrious job career began when I was 13. I started mowing yards in the summer and scooping snow in the winter. My parents didn’t force me to work, I’ve just always wanted to be responsible for myself.

When I was 15, I started working for a company that refinished furniture. What a great experience. I’ll never forget what I learned while working with the Bequette family business. If I weren’t so lazy, I could refinish some beautiful pieces of furniture to this day.

When I was 17, I started working for McDonalds. It was better pay than refinishing furniture and the work wasn’t as hard. I learned teamwork, and how to trick co-workers in to drinking carbonated water by making them think it was Sprite. The look on their faces when they chugged the carbonated water will be an image in my mind that won’t soon fade.

July 5th, 1988, shortly after graduating high school, when I was still 17, I joined the Air Force and shipped off to Basic Training. Basic Training wasn’t hard….it just sucked because you didn’t have any freedoms and couldn’t leave. Then came Tech Shool and shortly afterwards, my first base….McGuire Air Force Base, NJ. I was an aircraft mechanic on C-141B’s. Pretty cool job but really really sucked in the winter time. I remember being out on the flightline in the winter with as many layers of clothes on as I could stand and be within Air Force dress regs and still freezing my ass off. To this day, I HATE cold weather. After being stationed in New Jersey for 3 years, I was allowed to fill out my “dream sheet” as to the bases I’d like to be assigned. I put down Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Bahamas, and other warm climate areas that had a beach nearby. I didn’t grow up around the beach but always felt people who lived near the beach had a better attitude on life. I’m really laid back and felt like I would belong in that atmostphere. After filling out my “dream sheet”, I got married and looked in to buying a house as I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of leaving McGuire. On the day I was supposed to go to the bank to finalize the loan papers, by chance, I had to make a quick stop at work to grab something….I don’t even remember what it was. My boss saw me as he was on his way to get the daily distro. After picking up the distro, he came running back to where I was to tell me I had orders. He said you’re going somewhere in the Pacific. I guessed Japan, he said no. I then guessed Guam, he said no again. Now, I’m at a loss. Finally, he told me I had orders to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. WOW!!! SCORE!!! Me putting up with the shitty weather working outdoors in Jersey paid off.

On August 25th of 1992, my wife (now x-wife) and I landed in Honolulu, HI. The normal tour of duty there as with most bases is 4 years. After being in Hawaii for about 1 day, I realized I wanted to stay there for as long as I could. I attended every training class that came up. I made myself a valuable asset to the squaron with which I was assigned that they ended up renewing my stay after my initial 4 years. : ) I ended up staying in Hawaii for 8.5 years and LOVED every single second of it. It’s an experience I will never forget and hope to get back there some day.

At some point in my military career, I realized that working on planes was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was fun and the things I got to see and do were absolutely amazing, but all good things must come to an end. I’m big on being in control of my own life and not putting it in to the hands of others. If I fail it’s my fault. But when I succeed, it’s because I’ve worked hard to put myself in the position to succeed.

Back in the early 80’s my mom bought my first computer. It was a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A. I dug in to the BASIC language manual and before you know it, I was drawing stick figures on the screen that were bouncing very pixelated basketballs across the screen and making shots into a basket that only resembled a basketball goal if you were 20ft away from the 19″ television set the TI-99/4A was connected to. : )

So, in 1992ish, I bought an Amiga 600. I really enjoyed it, but felt I was missing out on something because it wasn’t an IBM compatible. About a year or so later, I bought a 486sx 25 with a 130MB hdd and 1MB of RAM. I started fooling around with DOS and Windows 3.1. I would purposefully break the system so I would be forced to either fix it or format it. For those of you that remember QEMM, a memory management program, I built my own config.sys and autoexec.bat files and got just as much free memory out of them as QEMM would. I decided one day to add a sound card. I had NO idea how to do this. I went to the store on base and bought a Sound Blaster 16 ISA sound card. I got home, went to my neighbors house and asked for his help installing the new card. Well, he didn’t have time right away and said he would help me later that evening. I was anxious and excited and wanted the card in right then. So….about 1/2 hour later, I had the card installed and working. From then on, I was hooked!

I started helping the guys I worked with fix their computers. On my days off, I was always busy working on computers. When I realized I knew quite a bit, I got a business license and started charging people. Aircraft mechanic by day, computer guy by night. After a few years of working on computers, I decided that a computer career was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I got my A+ certfication, and started teaching at CompUSA to further improve my resume. Meanwhile, my re-enlistment is coming due. I went to the career office and found that there was a shortage of computer guys in the Air Force while there were too many aircraft mechanics. BINGO!! I’ll be able to move career fields with the Air Force and maybe stay in Hawaii. : )

Well, I found out that the shortage of computer guys had been filled. But, the repositioning list came out every year. So, I reenlisted banking on the fact that the following year, I’d be able to retrain as a computer guy. The following year rolled around, I applied and long story short, I was turned down. I had been an aircraft mechanic for 10+ years at this point so the Air Force thought it was in their best interest to keep me as a mechanic. Well, needless to say, when my next enlistment came up, I declined and got out of the Air Force….so they not only lost a top qualified aircraft mechanic, they lost a great Airman with the highest marks on his annual reviews. I’m still bitter about it to this day, but won’t go in to that here.

Looking back on the things I’ve done to get where I’m at now….I wouldn’t change a thing. Several jobs and several moves makes me appreciate what we’ve worked for even more. I don’t live in a mansion, I don’t drive an exotic sports car, I don’t have tons of money in the bank….but being in control of my own life, making the most of every opportunity that has come my way, and earning everything I’ve worked for makes me a rich man indeed. I cannot imagine my life being any better than it is at every moment. I make it a point to learn something new every day. Every day I strive to be a better person. I look forward to every opportunity each day will present.

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Brian Gilbert

Brian Gilbert serves as the Director of Business Development for Thomason Management, Inc. Thomason Management, Inc manages premium domain portfolios including Innovation HQ, Inc., who owns DUIAttorney.com, WhatIsMyIP.com, Earth.com, MortgageCalculator.com, Grants.com, PromDresses.com, Unemployment.com plus many more premium names.

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